Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth favourites as British Open begins

And Rahm admits he has re-watched some of Ballesteros's old footage'a million times

Coming off three missed cuts in his last four events, he was 5 over through six holes when his caddie gave him a pep talk.

Woods is now recovering from a fourth back operation and Player believes the entire golfing community is willing him to make a successful return to the game.

Koepka said that, on the Saturday night of the U.S. Open, he made the decision to head to Las Vegas for a celebratory get-together with some of his friends.

"Good time to back me, I think", laughed the Northern Irishman, who didn't cope well with strong winds at the 2011 Open and said at the time, "These conditions, I don't enjoy playing in really".

"A lot of the younger guys are physically gifted, but they don't have the experience with links golf", said Padraig Harrington, who won his second consecutive Open - and from the "bad side of the draw" - at Royal Birkdale in 2008. "But it was nice to get over here early and just kind of get a feel for the golf course and just kind of play again". He got back in the gym - "That was the one thing that was kind of tough after everything we did, going to Vegas and all" - and appeared to be missing none of the form that saw him capture his first major championship and second PGA Tour title.

A pair of Englishmen had the early lead in their home tournament.

"I think Tiger eventually got very confused with the swing, going to so many coaches". It's like make hay while the sun is shining.




Koepka's case is much more exotic at age 27 (four years beyond Spieth). He spoke about the effect the wind was having on his tactics.

"I've struck the ball better than I did in '15", he said of his epic season in which, at age 22, he won two majors and came within four shots of winning the others. You don't have to hit driver out there.

Schwartzel was the clear victor of his threeball with McIlroy and world No 1 Dustin Johnson, the South African scrambling hard to get to the turn in level par before birdies at 10, 13, 17 and 18 hoisted him into contention.

Spieth spent only three semesters at Texas, though he used plenty of logic when he said that the 156-man field at Royal Birkdale has more players who haven't won a major than who have. For most of the day, the wind was consistent, and the afternoon players were treated to some rare British sunshine.

"Sometimes you have to figures things out on the course and that is what he did today" was his explanation after the round. He hit another tee shot, this one into a bunker on the left. There was a ruling and he ended up a with two-shot penalty for moving an immovable object. "Everyone up there hadn't won a major - Rickie (Fowler), Justin (Thomas), Hideki (Matsuyama)".

Reigning champion and Olympic silver medallist Henrik Stenson of Sweden is in joint-26 place after a one-under round of 69.

World number one Dustin Johnson, four-times major champion Rory McIlroy and American Phil Mickelson, runner-up to Stenson previous year, were among the late starters. The Northern Irishman was five-over after bogeying five of the first six holes.

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